Amid new focus, Gingrich's ire remains the same
March 28th, 2012
09:25 PM ET
11 years ago

Amid new focus, Gingrich's ire remains the same

Washington (CNN) - Newt Gingrich may have a new political focus, but the focus of his ire appears to be the same.

At various times during a roughly 50-minute appearance at Georgetown University on Wednesday, the Republican presidential candidate re-stated familiar attacks on the news media, President Obama and critics.

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It was Gingrich's first public appearance since news broke that he had dramatically scaled back his presidential campaign.

The speech was light on barbs against his GOP rivals. But at one point, Gingrich did label them as being off their rockers for their response to one of his most controversial ideas.

"I talked about having colonies on the moon, and I talked about the importance of space, and all this stuff. And I just got really ridiculed, including by my two opponents," Gingrich said, "who just went sort of nutso on this thing."

After reiterating the need for bold new space ventures, Gingrich said, "We are surrounded by a news media that is cynical, and by consultants who are cynical, by lobbyists who are cynical.

"They think having big ideas are silly. And they think it's a waste of time."

As billed, the speech was to primarily focus on Social Security reform. But the candidate spent the majority of his address positing other oft-stated conservative positions. For example, Gingrich talked about the ideals of the nation's Founding Fathers, the threats of secularization, the need for energy independence and what he called President Obama's gross mishandling of the nation's economy.

Thirty minutes in, Gingrich began to tackle the entitlement program in earnest.

"According to the Social Security actuary, if we had adopted in 1983 a personal Social Security savings account model, we would today have over $16 trillion in savings accounts," Gingrich said.

"So your generation has a terrific opportunity."

At the end of his speech, the candidate opened the floor to questions. The first one was arguably the harshest.

"Back in high school, I was a janitor ... and, for me, it was embarrassing to be a janitor with all these other rich kids," the questioner began, an apparent reference to Gingrich's previous comments that poor children should be allowed to work as janitors in schools and earn money.

"I did not feel empowered by serving my classmates," the questioner continued. "Why not invest in these kids to work for law firms, hospitals and get paid to get a lot better skills?"

"I'm sorry if you're offended," Gingrich responded. "Both of my daughters worked as janitors at the local Baptist church. And they earned their money and they didn’t think it was demeaning."

As Gingrich spoke, the questioner interrupted a few times, causing a bit of a verbal scuffle.

There was also a candid moment.

While talking about the need for big solutions to the nation's problems, Gingrich acknowledged he'd fallen short in promoting what's best for the country.

"I haven’t done a very good job as a candidate. It is so difficult to communicate big solutions in this country," he said.

"We are in deep trouble as a people. This transcends Republicans, it transcends Democrats, it transcends Obama's personality, it transcends the Republican candidates. Your generation is inheriting a dysfunctional country which cannot communicate with itself and whose political leadership has no ideas to get us back on track. And that's why I decided to run."

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Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. mmi16

    Could'a, should'a, would'a – the bain of a political also ran.

    March 29, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  2. SSampson

    Is he pointing towards his new Moon Base???

    This story appears to have been posted 8 hours ago – and this is the first comment –

    Perhaps Newt should get the message – noone cares about him anymore.... so sad...of course he has lackd relevance for years now...

    March 29, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  3. Orwell shrugs

    On moon base Palin, emperor Newt cynically ponders his nutso republicans who did not follow him to paradise in Republistan, a land where Obama personalities are not allowed, government and taxes do not exist, and hiring well paid history consultants is required.

    March 29, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  4. John

    Gingrich is arrogant and nasty. Who needs him, not I.

    March 29, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  5. Marie MD

    His ire is worse now because a snowball has a better chance in hell. The serial cheater and the tuba playing wife. Sounds like a good comedy rage driven act.

    March 29, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  6. Orwell shrugs

    Newt, remember you and your Hammer, Tom Delay, created the dysfunctional congress that created the dysfunctional country. You called it contract with america, then it became Contract on America. Then there was a scandal, and The Hammer had a coup and you had a fine of $300k and you resigned. You became a history consultant hired by lobbies.

    So your daughters were janitors! Was that when you ditched you wife and did not pay child support? That is not dysfunctional, it was a test they needed to take.

    March 29, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  7. Pat

    Yes Monn colony great idea hahahahahahaha. Can u & Calista take a one way ticket to moon and never come back.

    March 29, 2012 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  8. Sam

    There is a saying in my language – roughly translated reads – the person who couldn't dance blamed the floor – meaning you blame others for your inabilities. Gingrich seems to be doing that!

    March 29, 2012 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  9. SixDegrees

    ...and this is exactly why Gingrich's campaign is in the toilet. It has never amounted to anything other than anger and criticism directed at his opponents – who seem to be legion and growing in number. There is no hint of any actual plan for the nation, no statements of what he would actually do if elected. Only tirade after tirade directed against those he doesn't like. Gingrich comes across as petulant and childish, and demonstrates none of the leadership qualities one would hope for from a President or other elected official.

    March 29, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  10. Mark

    Newt: the poster child for a dysfunctional country. Anger at others who have different opinions, shameless hypocrisy, holier than thou attitudes, inability to work with others. Its depressing he got any attention at all, and a bit reassuring he flamed out pretty quickly.

    March 29, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  11. Andrew

    Pathetic to think this blowhard was once 'speaker' and third in line...scary too..sad to see this is the best we have to present to our country as leaders..whatever happened to realistic, fair and civil ?? all we got now are religious whakos, millionaire dufus and egotistic madman...sigh......

    March 29, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  12. Cap'n D

    So **Obama's** personality gets cited as something bad for the country? LOL, Newt. Just who was it, again, who contributed to a "leadership unable to communicate with each other" by publishing The Manual on labeling Democrats as "traitors", "perverse", "amoral", etc at every opportunity?

    March 29, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  13. Jorge

    Don't go away mad Newtie...just go away.

    March 29, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  14. vp

    "Your generation is inheriting a dysfunctional country which cannot communicate with itself and whose political leadership has no ideas to get us back on track. "

    This is pure disingenuous BS; Mr. Gingrich IS part of that leadership that took us off the tracks.

    March 29, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  15. Bob Ramos

    "I talked about having colonies on the moon, and I talked about the importance of space, and all this stuff. And I just got really ridiculed, including by my two opponents," Gingrich said, "who just went sort of nutso on this thing."
    On this issue Gingrich is right. Today, we have private industry actually either currently involved or planning to get involved in space commercialization both in the USA and aboard. We need to let these firms take the lead with government supporting them and not the other way around.

    March 29, 2012 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  16. Robert

    I've decided that the GOP as it is today has become a cult. Instead of giving you their message and letting you decide what's best for you they constantly work to invalidate every other message to convince you that they and they alone speak the truth. They use hyperbolic statements to instill fear and insecurity all the while claiming that only they can keep you safe from the source of this fear mongering. The likes of Rick Santorum are telling us what Obama might do while he's also telling us exactly how he himself would take away our freedoms. I won't make a final decision until November but so far Obama has my vote.

    March 29, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  17. Diana

    Americans do not want you, an adulterer, as President and Commander In Chief of the country.

    Nor do they want your mistress/wife#3 adulteress as First Lady.

    Imagine these two representing the United States around the world.

    March 29, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  18. T'sah From Virginia

    ginGRINCH is only staying in the race so that he can travel the country and visit zoos on PAC money...Period!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    March 29, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  19. MaryAngeline

    Wonder if Newt's daughters worked as janitors due to the fact that Daddy Big Ego did not pay sufficient child support. My guess is that Mr. Big Ideas always had enough $$$ for his favorite hobby, cheating on whomever he was married to at the time!

    March 29, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  20. wgf

    "They think having big ideas are silly. And they think it's a waste of time."

    What Newt needs to realize is that there's a difference between big ideas and good ideas. He assumes that the problem is that we, as an electorate, are incapable of grasping the vastness of what he is proposing. But we grasp it just fine. We just don't agree with it.

    March 29, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  21. Purnell Meagre

    they should have put the word "irrelevant" in the headline. (instead of "the same."

    March 29, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
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